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Old 12-14-2011, 12:27 AM   #1
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Recent spinal fusion and doing well

I am new to this board but just wanted to share a bit of my story. I am a career soldier and initially injured my back after returning from a year in Iraq (go figure. I am fine in a war zone and then get hurt runningnwhen I come home!). The herniated disc caused numbness in my left calf and foot but the docs would not do anything surgical because I still had full function. I was okay with that until this past Summer when I reinjured it while on vacation with my family. I could not walk or stand up straight the pain was so bad. After a few months of unsuccessful conservative treatment and a lot of painkillers, the Army finally did minimally invasive TLIF on my l5-s1 about 5 weeks ago.

So far I would consider it successful, although I realize it is way early in my recovery. I am getting out and walking every day and the pain has really decreased in my leg. I am off of painkillers ( I can't stand putting them into my body andmwas happy to find that after I weaned myself off of them with my docs permission that I have very, very little pain. Really I would say it is more annoying discomfort than pain. I am driving again but only short distances which is fine with me right now. I do have some sciatica in my left hip and buttocks, but I assume that is a result of pinching off that nerve for almost 3 years.

I guess my biggest frustration is sleeping. I am just not tired enough to sleep at night, so I often lay awake and read until the early morning hours and then I sleep until the early afternoon. I hope when I get back to work (after the holidays if I get a good report from my doc next week at my 6 week follow up) I will start to sleep better at night. I usually sleep in my recliner since it is such a chore to roll over in bed.

i just wanted to say that I am blessed with a super sacrificial wife and five great kids that are being so helpful to me right now. I don't really worry about overdoing it since they are usually right there to help the moment I need them. Although I never realized how much we bend and twist in an average day until I was told to do neither. My doc doesn't do the whole back brace thing so I have to be extra careful to not accidently twist (although I still catch my self occassionally slightly twisting and quickly realign my position (47 year old habits are hard to break).

I'll try to remember to keep everyone that is interested posted as I continue my recovery. My goal is to eventually get back to light running and playing a little golf but unless I get clearance from the docs I don't plan on even attempting that. I don't want to have to go through this surgery ever again if it can be avoided, not because of the pain of recovery, but because of the forced inactivity. I look forward to getting back on deployable status and doing my part to lessen the burden on some of my brothers down range right now. Thanks for listening and if you are contemplating spinal fusion surgery, I hope my posts will be an encouragement to you.

 
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Old 12-14-2011, 06:32 AM   #2
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Re: Recent spinal fusion and doing well

Welcome to the board. I hope you have found some of the information you found here helpful.

It sounds like things are going well and that you have a good attitude concerning your recovery, and understand the thinking of a short inconvenience for the long-term goal of a healthier spine.

If you have questions as your recovery progresses, please come back and post them. We have many members who have been through the procedure and may be able to provide some perspective.

Thank you for your service to our country. Hope to see you around the board.

 
Old 12-14-2011, 03:15 PM   #3
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Re: Recent spinal fusion and doing well

Glad you are doing well. And thank you for your service....my BF is in the Air National Guard and has done a couple short tours in the war zones himself. He claims that his loud voice is due to having been a weapons loader for a while...I'm not sure I fully buy that one but he's the first military person I've known well and it has made me appreciate our personnel even more, despite being a bit of a pacifist in my politics!!

Actually, when a leg issue acts up, the BF also has been known to sleep in a recliner. He's added in a massage/heat pad that seems to help him too. It doesn't help me (4m post ALIF) but do whatever works!!!

And I think we can all totally sympathize with how the smallest mis-step can be a lightning bolt of pain. It is def hard for other folks to understand but you are def not alone.

 
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